Mutual fund and financial services companies are finally coming off the bench and onto the sports field -- or at least their advertising is.
Financial services companies coughed up at least $850 million to sponsor sporting events worldwide last year, according to a report from Cerulli Associates Inc., Boston. And the evidence suggests that mutual fund companies, insurers and banks will increase their sports sponsorships by between 9% and 10% a year going forward.
Investment management companies seem to favor two kinds of sports sponsorship: support of an arena, or of a sport or a particular team. Usually, the team or the sports complex is local or in a hot target market, the report says.
Boston-based Fleet Financial, for example, pays nearly $30 million a year to have its name on the arena where the Boston Celtics and Bruins play.
Firstar Corp. will pay $10 million per year for the next 10 years to have its name on the arena where the Cincinnati Cyclones play.
Bank One and Comerica will each pay $66 million per year for 10 years to have arenas named after them. The Arizona Diamondbacks play at the Bank One Ballpark and the Detroit Tigers play at Comerica Park.
Mellon Bank sponsors its hometown Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Phillies.
SunAmerica Mutual Funds in New York sponsors the Yankees, and its signs throughout Yankee Stadium are seen nationwide. It also advertises on the Yankees' radio network, which is heard on 34 stations around the country.
First Union, prominent in the southeast and based in Charlotte, N.C., wins the trophy for sponsoring the most teams: the Atlanta Braves; Charlotte Hornets; Jacksonville Jaguars; Miami Dolphins; Nashville Predators; Philadelphia 76ers; Philadelphia Flyers; Philadelphia Phantoms; and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.